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Friday, 5 January 2018
Defend wages & jobs – RMT condemns bosses’ automation threat
‘THIS IS dangerous nonsense and must be opposed by the whole trade union movement,’ RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said yesterday responding to a reactionary statement by the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) which claimed that increases in the minimum wage drive up unemployment through automation – workers being replaced by machines.
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The IFS claimed in its report: ‘New analysis published today by IFS shows that those being brought within the minimum wage net are in different sorts of jobs from those who have been on the minimum previously – and in particular they are more likely to be doing jobs that appear more readily doable by machines or computers.’
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: ‘This is just a carefully crafted attempt by the elite to roll back the gains made by the trade unions on the principles of a minimum wage and a genuine living wage. We can expect more of this now that the IFS have kicked open the door.
‘The fact that they are using automation as a justification is in line with the attacks on jobs and working conditions in the transport sector where greedy private companies are using the bogus arguments around technology to try and hack back on staffing numbers, safety and working conditions.
‘It is interesting that the IFS say nothing about top bosses’ pay and choose to focus in on those in the workforce who are already struggling to get by. It’s dangerous nonsense and must be opposed by the whole trade union movement.’
Unite Executive Officer, Sharon Graham said: ‘This report is just propaganda for employers who want an excuse to suppress wages. I don’t suppose that economists at the Institute for Fiscal Studies are asking for pay cuts to protect themselves from robots. They know that “Industry 4.0” is going to generate enormous amounts of wealth and we need automation to deliver for society, not just bigger profits. Why not demand a shorter working week and a decent retirement?’
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